NSI X7000 scanner with a David Tecchler cello scanned during the workshop
On the 30th of March, in Campogalliano, in the province of Modena, at the headquarters of TEC Eurolab, a company dedicated to the study of materials through the highest technologies, was held the first workshop of informative, cultural and scientific nature entitled “A look new on an artistic heritage”, dedicated to the analysis of ancient instruments through the most sophisticated instrumental technologies.
The workshop featured a tomographic survey on two ancient musical instruments: the Violin Carlo IX by Andrea Amati and the Guitar “Sabionari 1679” by Antonio Stradivari. This analysis was an opportunity to learn about the potential of the tomographic instrument for the benefit of luthiers, musicians, collectors, restorers and managers of auction houses and musical structures.
It was a day dedicated to art, but also a meeting between music and technology, that revealed how precious is the contribution of modern technology in reconstructing the history and state of conservation of an artistic and ancient instrument.
The event allowed a confrontation between the experts of the tomographic sector and those of the musical field, promoting a reciprocal exchange of opinions, visions and perspectives on the theme of the conservation of ancient instruments and art in general. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the lutherie and restoration studio of Francesco Piasentini, who since 2014 has been collaborating with Tec Eurolab in developing applications of industrial tomography to string instruments.
In order to evaluate the health of such an instrument it is essential to know the state of conservation of the different parts that compose. At the Campogalliano (Mo) site there are two North Star Imaging scanners: NSI X5000 and NSI X7000.Two multi-resolution units, particularly flexible in managing the different types of surveys, from a small area to a full-size instrument. Tec Eurolab is the only company in Italy that can scan a complete cello with a minimum resolution of 140 microns. An industrial tomograph is composed of three parts: an X-ray source, a detector and a rotating plate. The object to be analyzed is fixed to the rotating table and a series of radiographs are performed with the object in rotation.
The radiographic images are then processed by a computer to reconstruct a virtual model composed of individual volume elements (or voxels), to each of which is assigned a different shade of gray. The shade is related to the attenuation of X-rays occurred at that specific point. In the case of string instruments, made mostly of wood, at different levels of absorption corresponds a different density of the material. As in the case of a medical CT scan, with the Microtomography it is possible to obtain infinite sections of the scanned object, diagnosing the presence of defects or previous restorations with resolutions lower than 100 microns (0.1 mm). One of the strengths of the NSI X5000 and X7000 scanners is speed: it is possible to scan a violin or a cello within a few hours. This allows musicians, luthiers, dealers and collectors to have immediate feedback on the conservation status of their instruments.
These are some comments on the event, by those who organized it and by those who participated as curious observers.
Paolo Moscatti – President of TEC Eurolab – has explained the double aspect of the day lived: “Magnificent day, because it has a double aspect. A technology that is helping luthiers to better understand the art of their predecessors, their masters, how they worked the wood, what signs they left, what is the integrity of instruments made hundreds of years ago, and then there is one another to which we care very much about, that is this conjunction between human ingenuity, which can be expressed through art or through technology. ”
Martina Vincetti – TEC Tomolab Referent – “TEC Eurolab has decided to organize this event dedicated to violin making in collaboration with the studio of Francesco Piasentini, to show another side of industrial tomography. It is always believed that industrial tomography is applied only to automotive, biomedical or aerospace components, but instead can give great results even in the field of artistic and cultural heritage. ”
Francesco Piasentini – Violin Maker, ICT Consultant – “Tomography has today given a new light to a wonderful environment like that of ancient stringed instruments, it has been able to give a new perspective, precisely because it is a technology that manages to investigate in a incredible way on string instruments.
“Eric Blot – Violin Maker, Expert -” Today’s event has certainly been very interesting given that they are all the most important operators of our sector, who were able to give their opinion on this new tool of the tomography which is fundamental for us. ”
Fausto Cacciatori – Conservator of the Violin Museum – “I leave this morning with a goal, which is as soon as possible to have all the heritage of our museum, accompanied by images that can be achieved through tomography.”
Simultaneously to the event, the exhibition of the Master Gelindo Baron “La Musica della Vita” was inaugurated, with 12 oil on canvas works, many of them with references to music, in particular to the violin. “Every single work is a masterpiece in which color and light intertwine with a rhythm that is always new but at the same time ancient”.
TEC Eurolab was established in 1990 with the aim, at the time, of providing laboratory tests on the materials used by manufacturing companies. Following the technological evolution of materials, processes and related industrial applications, the original laboratory has developed itself to become, today, a service center of excellence that is characterized by advanced skills and technological equipment. The distinctive competences of TEC Eurolab concern the materials, the processes applied to them and the methods necessary to obtain, evaluate and validate the characteristics suitable for correct use. The company, with over 2,500 customers worldwide in heterogeneous sectors, has been in business for over 27 years, invests 20% of its turnover in new technologies and R&D, is characterized by a structure of 4,500 square meters, and sees in its workforce 90 employees with an average age of over 33 years.
Tec Eurolab: addresses and contacts
Headquarters: TEC Eurolab Srl – Via Europa 40, 41011 Campogalliano (Modena), Italy
Operating Office: Via Ruggiero Grieco, 91, 41011 Campogalliano (Modena), Italy
Telephone: +39 059 527775
Fax: +39 059 527773